Contractions can feel different especially in the early stages of labor...
They can start in your lower back and the pain moves around to your front... they can feel like menstrual cramping, and they are definitely the tightening of your belly for about 30 seconds..
TIme the contractions ... start with the start of one and reset the timer when the next one starts.. if they are coming in a pattern of 5-10 mins apart.. You should go get chekced out as you are still early... Early contractions may not be that painful, when I dilated to 3 CM my contractions were hardly painful at all but they were pattern... True labor contractions will not die down if you change activities... Try drinking a full glass of water or two, emptying your bladder, and laying down on your left side while you time them.... If they die down, then they could be false labor pains...
As for the menstrual cramping, that can be a sign of early labor as well.. Its normal to experience this at this stage in the game due to the pressure the babies head puts on your pelvis.... My doctor advised me that if the menstrual like cramping lasts for more than an hour (even if it comes and goes during that time), you need to be seen at the hospital.
THough they do encoruage people to labor at home until active labor starts, due to your gestation, its probably advisable to be seen to be safe.. Based on what you are saying it sounds like it could be early labor..
My baby's head has been really low since 32 weeks but if your baby just moved into the low position, it could be a sign that labor is imminent...
L&D may end up sending you home if you go and are only slightly dilated but it will give you an idea if you are actually are in early labor and prepare you to know when to come back..
If you dont want to go, I highly suggest you at least call them and explain to them what is going on (mentioning all factors = preterm labor issues, preeclampsia) and see what they suggest.
Hope this helps a bit
This helps a TON. THANK YOU. I actually did just call Labor and Delivery and they want me to come in to be checked. Your information was fantastic and I REALLY appreciate you sharing with me. We're headed into L&D now!!
Good luck! I hope everything goes well at the hospital if the baby is born soon
Okay, so here's the update:
We went into Labor and Delivery and turns out I WAS contracting and the contractions were only 1 minute apart! But then I'd have a 10 minute stretch where I didn't have any. And then another 10 minute stretch where they were 1 minute apart. They checked me and I had dilated a LITTLE (just to a 1. But yesterday at the doctor's I wasn't dilated at all.). But when she checked me again in an hour, my dilation hadn't changed, so they told me to come home. She actually told me that if I had dilated more - even to a two, then they would have kept me there! Also, she could the baby's head!! SO exciting!!
Yeah its nuts when your babys head is so low but it also makes things alot easier.. like checks and stuff are easy because its easy to get to the cervix..
When I went in last week, I was having contractions around 3 mins apart.... I got checked I was 1 CM as well... I continued to contract for well over 24 hours.. but at the 24 hour from my last check mark I went in, I was so exhausted because sleeping the night before that was impossible... I was 3 CM the next day.... They had me walk around for 2 hours, I was dying by the time I went back in and there was no change... my contractions slowly started dying off and now im having none, still sitting around 3 cm a week later..
It could happen really fast or you could be waiting a while.. it is really excited and I hope everything continues to go okay for you.. might be time to make sure those last minute things are done =)